Jasmine Johnson of Becker has joined the staff of the Echo Press as a full-time reporter.

Even though Johnson has only been able to attend Echo Press meetings and contact community members virtually thus far due to COVID-19, she has already started to call Alexandria home.

“We are very excited to have Jasmine join our news team,” said Al Edenloff, news editor of the Echo Press. “She brings good writing and reporting skills to the newspaper and has a solid background in journalism.”

Johnson said she found her two passions for writing and photography early on. She frequently took her mother’s DSLR camera during middle school and enjoyed every English class she took in high school, but Johnson didn’t know how these two interests could intersect in a future career.

Her older sister, a Bethel University alumna, encouraged Johnson to attend a journalism camp at Bethel. There she learned that storytelling comes in many forms and discovered that she could pursue a major that would teach her how through both a camera lens and a keyboard.

While pursuing her degree at Bethel, Johnson spent her summers interning at ECHO Global Farm in Fort Myers, Fla., and the Pioneer Press in St. Paul. Between writing for a nonprofit’s donor magazine and producing breaking news stories for a daily newspaper, Johnson loved the variety of pace and content that came with each position.

Before the spread of the coronavirus resulted in restrictions and lockdowns, Johnson traveled to India for a month-long study abroad trip. A group of journalism and graphic design students from Bethel partnered with students from India to create a magazine containing social justice and cultural stories. Johnson said she was humbled by the people’s hospitality and joy, and she hopes to return to the country again soon.

Some of her fondest memories from college stem from serving as news editor and managing editor on The Clarion, Bethel’s student newspaper. Revising design spreads during long production nights and running weekly meetings with her classmates and colleagues allowed the newsroom to become another home for her.

“One of my favorite things about working in a newsroom is the staff camaraderie that forms over time,” Johnson said. “Even with the barrier of technology, I can sense the connections between employees at the Echo Press. I can’t wait for the day when I’ll get to be a part of this team and the Alexandria community face to face.”